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Sunday, May 19, 2024

One Year in, WRL Seed Exchange Takes Root

WRL Seed Exchange is still in operation more than a year later (WYDaily/Jillian Appel)

WILLIAMSBURG — After more than a year in operation, Williamsburg Regional Library’s (WRL) seed exchange at the James City County Library has developed a following.  

The seed exchange, which is supported by the Friends of Williamsburg Regional Library Foundation, includes a collection of seeds and plant cuttings available for public exchange. This allows gardeners to share the fruits of their labor and gives new gardeners and learners a place to find free new plants to take home, according to the library.

During regular library hours, users can choose a packet from a variety of seeds including flowers, vegetables, herbs and more. Each seed packet describes the plant and care instructions.

The program launched over a year ago as an extension of the many popular gardening programs at the WRL. After researching similar programs around the state, Williamsburg Regional Library decided it would be fun and fitting to begin its own program. With funding provided by the Friends of Williamsburg Regional Library Foundation, the program was ready to begin taking shape.

There is a spot on the cart display for individuals to donate seeds to the exchange as well as plant cuttings. A group of volunteers helps maintain the cart by cleaning and putting out seeds and cuttings daily, so it is stocked and ready for that day’s visitors.

WRL welcomes the public to donate any type of non-GMO seeds and plant cuttings along with growing instructions to either library location.

The Master Gardeners Associations for Williamsburg and James City County have also gotten involved in the education portion of the Seed Exchange, according to WRL. The William & Mary Green House Manager has also been donating cuttings to the program from its Green House.

“It really has become a community effort and we’ve gotten a lot of really good feedback from people who have taken things,” reflected Alicia Phinney, Circulation Services Director for WRL, as she talked about the program’s first year. “We’ve had people who have sent us pictures of what they’ve grown.”

“It’s really been positively received by the community,” Phinney continued.

Phinney also notes that programs the library has held in conjunction with the seed exchange continue to be well attended, adding the program has even developed a small following of people who are always excited to learn what will be on offer or what the library will do next.

“We hope people will continue to donate to the seed exchange, cause it can only survive with the donations people are generous enough to bring in,” Phinney said. “If you have a garden or if you’re growing things and you want to share your seed harvest or your cuttings from your indoor plants, we’d love to take them at the James City County Library.”

To learn more about the seed exchange, visit the library’s official page.

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